Conflict in Donbas to not become frozen – OSCE chairperson
The conflict in Donbas is not and cannot turn into a frozen one, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde has said.
"I am categorically opposed to calling the conflict in Donbas or Crimea frozen [...] As this will mean that you have surrendered and do not consider it possible to resolve it. And I believe that Donbas is definitely not frozen now. After all, the Trilateral Contact Group or the Normandy format is still in operation, trying to find a solution," Linde said in an interview with Yevropeiska Pravda (European Truth) published on Wednesday.
She said that at the Normandy Four summit in Paris, there was an agreement on a new meeting of leaders under a number of conditions.
"Ukraine has fulfilled all the conditions. Russia, unfortunately, has not yet. Now everything depends on how the negotiations will continue, on how it will be agreed to fulfill these conditions," Linde said.
According to her, there is still a positive result from the negotiations, this is a truce that has been going on since July 27. "And even despite the fact that now we see a worsening of the situation, that a Ukrainian serviceman died a week ago, the situation is still much better than it was a year ago. After all, in 2020, there were 34 victims in January and February alone," the OSCE Chairperson said.
Linde said the priority of her chairmanship is to try to resolve the conflict, or at least take a step towards its solution, without departing from the principle of comprehensive security.
"And, we will, of course, continue to follow the principle of the integrity and unity of Ukraine, which includes the Ukrainian Crimea and Sevastopol. We will try to build on the achievements of the preliminary chairmanships in the OSCE, using both the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group," she said.
When asked whether the OSCE should become a participant in the Normandy format, Linde said it is not, since Normandy is already an established format. She said that it is always worth analyzing what is effective, what works. And the current Normandy format is just working.
"But the OSCE has concentrated its efforts in the Trilateral Contact Group, where our representative Heidi Grau does a very important job. And even if she is criticized in Ukraine, in fact she does a lot to get closer to resolving the conflict, and these efforts deserve support as well as the work of the SMM – the greatest mission of our organization," she said.